Wednesday, November 20, 2013

One Minute Movie Review: The Heat

Director Paul Fieg of Bridesmaids, brings us a laugh out loud flick that combines Bullock's infamous straight gal routine with McCarthy's irreverent, obscene, and always well timed comedic presence.    Bullock has done the reluctant and misguided FBI schtick to death (Miss Congeniality), but thanks mostly to McCarthy's quick wit and Feig's fast and furious dialog, her performance is enhanced to become quite endearing and actually funny.    The script is fluid and relentless, filled with biting humor and banter that doesn't take a break.  The story is somewhat goofy and predictable but the chemistry between the two stars most definitely makes up for it.  However, the overuse of the F Bomb, manipulated in every form possible, distracts from an otherwise dynamic script and seems ultra lazy, pandering to the lowest level of guttural humor rather than simply allowing this dynamic duo to improv and aim for creative laughs instead of juvenile, bathroom giggles. The action is all right, a bit basic and unrealistic, but gets the job done.  3 out of 5 Kernels: the two stars bring the heat, but the excessive profanity cools down an otherwise very funny flick.  

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

One Minute Movie Review: The Croods

Most would agree, of late, Nick Cage and Ryan Reynolds, on their own, nearly guarantee any production they are a part of will face a grim fate, put them together and you have the quintessential kiss of death.    Yet directors Kirk De Micco and Chris Sanders, of Space Chimps non fame, decided to tempt that fate and venture out against all common sense and historical fact to feature this less than dynamic duo in their second big screen CGI adventure.   Prepare for cats to lay down with dogs, airborne swine, and the zombie apocalypse, because they actually created one of the best animated fare of the collective genre.   Beautiful animation and brilliant cinematography only add to this well written and acted family tale that hits every mark in humor and heart.   Emma Stone, Clark Duke, and Cloris Leachman round out a superb cast that interact with such authenticity and energy that you forget they are voicing high tech cartoons.   Cage and Reynolds deliver sincere and entertaining performances, as well, and play off each other with all the zest and zeal of your finest buddy feature.  With all that said, the animation immerses you in a fantastic world of breathtaking color and definition that perfectly accentuates and amplifies the story and scope.  For a kids flick, it is one of the best.   So you can imagine my utter shock and awe.  4 out of 5 Kernels; imaginative, engaging, and thoroughly entertaining, mucho kudos to Micco and Sanders for attempting the impossible and succeeding especially, where everyone else has failed, miserably in most instances, when it comes to this picture’s two leading men.    

Friday, November 8, 2013

One Minute Movie Review: Thor: The Dark World

To begin with  there will be no spoilers, so feel free to relax whilst you read this short review.  Director Alan Taylor, of Game of Thrones fame, tries his hand at directing the god of thunder in this highly anticipated sequel that adds another notch to the Marvel Cinematic's Universe's collective belt.   With most of the original cast returning, this film picks up, where both the original feature and the Avengers left off.   The best way to handle this particular analysis, without divulging too much information, is to set it up on a simple grading scale dissecting the essential elements that make or break a film, and, more accurately a sequel.   Those facets include; effective continuum in the mythology in regards to its predecessor, chemistry between characters, plot, and, finally, scope, or impressiveness of the overall look and feel.   The continuum receives an A as it flows smoothly, nearly seamlessly from the first to the second.   Chemistry is a C, which is upsetting because the primary relationship between Jane and Thor, is unusually cold, methodical, and nearly lifeless.  There is absolutely no depth or exploration of their connection, which is sadly disappointing especially coming from someone like Taylor, and chiefly due to the lackluster performance of Portman, and even Hemsworth when it comes to this element of the movie.  However, as bad as that is, it is Hiddleston and Hemsworth's interaction that saves the film, and gives it the emotional and humorous layers it so desperately needed.  Plot is a C, although I appreciate that they went total comic book with the story, the science of it is so fantastical, nearly ridiculous, at times, it becomes difficult to digest even for the most dedicated fan-boy or purist.    The scope is unequivocally an A+ as this picture is epic in scale and far surpasses the original in action, effects, and detail.    The first gave a great origins story that felt genuine and relatable, this one does not, but is still, overall, a good flick, especially for those who truly appreciate the comic series.  Kudos to Hiddleston who has single handily created the most beloved bad guy in the history of modern cinema. In the end, a far better Marvel outing than the tragic and downright goofy Stark finale.  Side-note, stay through the entire credits at the end, I won’t say anymore.  3 out of 5 Kernels; it is sad in a film where the story calls for the hero to fight to save the love of his life, instead the bromance, trumps the romance.  

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

One Minute Movie Review: Dead Man Down

Writer of the upcoming, much hyped, Almost Human TV series, J.H. Wyman, teams up with the director of 2009's version of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, Niels Arden Oplev, to accomplish the near impossible by creating a true action film with an authentically Indie feel.    Leading man Colin Farrell delivers a subtle yet remarkably convincing performance as the revenge driven vigilante who is torn between completing his wrath fueled task and his growing attachment to Noomi Rapace's (Prometheus) honest and disturbingly portrayal of an emotionally and physically scarred lost soul.   The remaining players including; Terrance Howard, Rhodey of Iron Man fame, and Dominic Cooper, Tony Stark's Pop in Captain America: The First Avenger, create believable and engaging characters that bring that script to true life.  However, the most notable achievement is the way Wyman and Oplev take a done to death idea and breathe originality into it without going over the top.  It is one of the few films of its nature that actually kept me in suspense, uncertain of the fortunes of the cast or the direction of its conclusion, including a few, well constructed and placed twists.   The only con was the excessive use of the F-BOMB which was unnecessary for such an effectively  written piece.  3 out of 5 Kernels; action fare that contains solid acting and a strong story I had to check out my window while writing this to see if there were any airborne swine hovering in the atmosphere.   

One Minute Movie Review: Epic

Director, Chris Wedge, who brought us the original Ice Age, and the voice of Scrat, introduces us to his envisioning of the world beneath the leaves in his beautifully crafted GCI tale Epic.  Despite that compliment, the film's name does not define the movie itself, as the only thing that was truly Epic about this animated feature was the hype leading up to it.  It is visually stunning in its cinematography, yes, but the plot is exceedingly basic, quite predictable, and the acting mediocre at best.   Wedge creates a truly unique and engaging world, but lessens it through a juvenile script and acting that matches.  The entire, mostly A Lister cast, including the likes of Farrell, Beyonce, and Seyfried, deliver B grade performances and that is being generous.  It is an outright shame that their portrayals can not match the sweep and scope of his production.  I sincerely appreciate the lack of Eco-preachiness and environmental indignation, that usually permeates and inevitable ruins these concepts, as well as, the child friendly storytelling.  But when you use the word Epic anywhere in your picture, let alone the title, you need to be aware you have set an expectation that you want to be fully prepared to meet in every aspect of your movie.    However, with all that said, my 8 year old daughter, absolutely loved the film, so well earned bonus points for that.  3 out of 5 Kernels; props for a non ideological, kid sensitive, masterfully animated picture, that, unfortunately, fails to impress or entertain anyone over the age of 8.  But then again, for a kids feature, is that a real fail?